FA Vase legends deliver their verdicts ahead of Hebburn Town v Consett Wembley final
The eagerly anticipated FA Vase Final clash between Ebac Northern League rivals Consett and Hebburn Town is almost upon us.
The North East rivals will walk out at Wembley Stadium on Monday afternoon as they look to become the tenth different club from the region to lift the famous trophy.
The likes of Whitley Bay, Dunston UTS, Morpeth Town and South Shields have all seen their names engraved on to the Vase over the last 43 years.
A whole host of players and managers from the North East have winners’ medals safely tucked away and we contacted some of them to get their verdict on Monday’s game.
Ian Chandler (Four-time Vase winner with Whitley Bay – 2002 (as a player), 2009, 2010, 2011 (all as manager)
“I think this one could go either way.
“The long lay-off with Covid may be a factor as players need that match sharpness to perform to their best.
“Although I’ve said it could go either way, I am edging towards a Hebburn win.”
Billy Irwin (Won the Vase in 2012 as Dunston UTS manager)
“I am expecting it to be close.
“Both teams have match-winners.
“I am expecting Hebburn to be favourites, but that could work in Consett’s favour.
“Good luck to both teams, it could be the best day of your lives if you win.”
Paul Chow (Three-time FA Vase winner with Whitley Bay)
“I am really looking forward to watching Monday’s final – I did have my hotel and travel sorted when it originally planned last year!
“So, I am extremely disappointed, like most other fans, that it’s going ahead behind closed doors.
“There are lots of friends and ex-team-mates in both sides with the likes of Michael Richardson, Graeme Armstrong, Louis Storey, Jack Donaghy and Robbie Spence still at Hebburn Town from when I was there.
“In the Consett squad, I have shared dressing rooms with Kyle Hayes, Calvin Smith, Arjun Purewal and Darren Holden.
“There is plenty of quality in both squads, and I expect quite an open game from two sides that like to play on the front foot and play attacking football.
“My prediction is a 3-2 win for Hebburn.”
Keith Graydon (Two-time FA Vase winner with Spennymoor Town in 2013 and Morpeth Town in 2016)
“I think it’s going to be about whoever best handles playing at Wembley.
“Even though it will be empty, some players will handle the surroundings in a better way.
“I think it will be a 3-1 Hebburn win.
“I just think they have a better team all-round.
“I will be watching, and I am looking forward to a great game.”
Paul Dixon (FA Vase winner with Blue Star in 1978)
“If Hebburn go one-up, it will be very difficult for Consett to peg them back.
“I’ve seen that back-four play on the last two Saturdays and they have been water-tight.
“But if Consett happen to get their nose in front, it means Hebburn will have to come out a bit more and there might be more gaps for Consett to get in there with their speed.”
Nicky Gray (FA Vase-winning manager with Morpeth Town in 2016)
“I’ll go with 3-2 to Hebburn.
“Potter to score one, McKeown to score one, Danny Carson to get the winner.
“Luke Carr and Dale Pearson to get two for Consett)
Paul Robinson (Three-time FA Vase winner with Whitley Bay in 2009, 2010 and 2011)
“I honestly can’t call it – I think it will be decided by the odd goal one way or the other.
“It will be very close, so I am going to say it will be the odd goal in five.
“They are two top teams with attacking players all over the pitch.
“I can’t wait to see some of my good pals I’ve played with and against get on to that pitch.
“It will be an excellent game and the Northern League will be well represented.”